Sweden seems like a lovely place to live, doesn’t it? It tops nearly every list of the best countries in which to raise children because of its generous health care policies, enviable maternity and paternity leaves, and stroller access pretty much everywhere. And we can’t forget about IKEA! Talented photographer, blogger, and mom Natasha Golota agrees. She and her partner are celebrating their first year in their sunny, open home with their two young boys, and she wouldn’t live anywhere else. Unless, perhaps, it’s New York!

Please enjoy this small taste of Sweden.

Q: I love the bursts of purple throughout your living space! Are you always so bold with your color choices?

A: I usually like very basic natural colors when I decorate interiors, but I do fancy bright details. They don’t need to match at all, but their presence in a room makes the decor more interesting and brings several more layers into the decoration. I like unusual and uncommon colors, which is why I chose purple in the living room. It’s not one of my favorite colors – and in fact, I don’t even like it! – but it made such an adorable match with the bright green, and I couldn’t resist!

Q: What’s your favorite room in your home?

A: Our living room, which is joined with the kitchen, is definitely the room where we spend the most of the day. If I had to choose only one piece of furniture to have in my house, I would choose our sofa. I love our sofa. We sit and relax there with our boys, read books, watch TV, play games, nap, and our oldest son builds pillow towers. It’s truly the centerpiece of the room.

Q: How did you decide on the decor for your boys’ room?

A: I believe that having fun is the key to helping kids learn. That’s why letters, numbers, a map, and books were given prime attention in my boys’ room. Besides, my oldest son seemed to like stars very early, so I decided to stick with it; I found a nice carpet with matching curtains in a star theme. Then I sewed the flag garland from pieces of fabric and old jeans I had. The boys love this room! They don’t really share the bedroom yet since the little one is still sleeping in our bedroom. We plan to get them a bunk bed when they are ready to share the room.

We do have an extra bedroom, which we are using as an extra play room for the moment. I believe this may work until each of them will need their own space. Then they will get their own bedrooms.

Q: Are those decals on the wall?

A: Yes! I ordered them from Unik Decor. I ordered the alphabet and designed some of my own text. They have endless wall decor ideas, so I’m sure that won’t be the last time I place an order with them!

Q: Your home seems well-curated without a lot of clutter; do you think carefully before you add something?

A: “Keep it simple” is my motto. Sometimes, you need just a couple of things to make it personal. I like to keep rooms clear in order to make the house clean quickly. Such an ordinary reason! However, I would like to have more pictures and paintings on the walls; I think they make the room more cozy and welcoming.

Living in Sweden, of course, makes us frequent and proud visitors of IKEA. I never leave the store empty-handed! If I had all the money in the world, I would buy my furniture at BoConcept. I like their clean and simple design; it’s so much me.

Q: Tell us about your favorite art pieces in the home.

A: I like things that have some history to tell. The Dala horse – that colorful figure in the corner of our living room – is a very traditional Swedish statuette that can be found in almost every Swedish home. It’s become one of the most popular symbols of Sweden. The one we have comes from my partner’s family and is over 30 years old, and is unusually big in size.

Another favorite piece of art is my oldest son’s police booties; his first shoes which I framed. They always remind me of how tiny he once was. I already got matching booties for my youngest, too! They’ll be framed as soon as he outgrows them.

I also love the print next to the framed booties. It’s a quote from Winne The Pooh, which my oldest one adores. Thanks to Drew for it!

Q: What’s on your wish list?

A: I’m mad about all kinds of porcelain. Give me a place to store it and an unlimited budget, and I’d be happy!

Q: When does your home work best?

A: When the whole family is together. I believe design and decor are as important as functionality. In our home, we can cook, play games, listen to the music, talk to our boys’ grandparents via the computer all at the same time and almost in the same room! And it works.

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Didn’t you smile when she admitted she didn’t even like purple? She’s right, though; it does look adorable with green! Thank you, Natasha, for sharing such a delightful peek into your bright home.

P.S. — If you’d like to share your home with us in my Living With Kids series, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!